The Chronicle has published the first in a three-part series narrating the experience of an English professor (who is also dramaturg at the Folger Theatre) and a math professor in co-teaching a First Year seminar called “Mathematics and What it Means to be Human.” Their reflections range from the enthusiastic (“There was so much to dazzle the students with the joy and beauty of math—all the “top 10″ hits from Fermat to fractals”) to the mundane (“My chairman . . . seemed downright distracted by the mundane matter of course release”). The English professor struggled with Math. The Math professor struggled with grading essays. Their own push and pull stimulated class discussion. It all sounds both exciting and frightening, and a great window into multi-disciplinary teaching and interdisciplinary scholarship (the Syllabus included things like the meaning of nothing/zero in King Lear, the problem of infinity, and a consideration of the digital humanities). I’m looking forward to the next installment, where, they say, the battle between math and poetry escalates.
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